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Life Is Messy

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The Jane Kirkpatrick Collection

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In 1844, two years before the Donner Party, the Stevens-Murphy company left Missouri to be the first wagons into California through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Mostly Irish Catholics, the party sought religious freedom and education in the mission-dominated land and enjoyed a safe journey--until October, when a heavy snowstorm forced difficult decisions. The first of many for young Mary Sullivan, newlywed Sarah Montgomery, the widow Ellen Murphy, and her pregnant sister-in-law Maolisa.

When the party separates in three directions, each risks losing those they loved and faces the prospect of learning that adversity can destroy or redefine. Two women and four men go overland around Lake Tahoe, three men stay to guard the heaviest wagons--and the rest of the party, including eight women and seventeen children, huddle in a makeshift cabin at the headwaters of the Yuba River waiting for rescue . . . or their deaths.

Award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick plunges you deep into a landscape of challenge where fear and courage go hand in hand for a story of friendship, family, and hope that will remind you of what truly matters in times of trial.

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starred review

ALA Booklist Review

“Kirkpatrick seamlessly blends fact and fiction [in Everything She Didn't Say] such that readers cannot tell where historical accounts end and the brilliance of her imagination begins. Kirkpatrick illuminates the subtext of Strahorn’s work with incredible spirit, depth, and creativity, illustrating the compelling ways in which people of the past filtered their lives and experiences.”

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All She Left Behind is a story of over-coming: over-coming tragedy and poor choices, personal and family challenges and yet never losing hope. It's also a story of love, community and connection in the 1860s.  Jennie Lichtenthaler had a dream to become a physician when it was rare indeed for a woman to reach for such a goal. A natural healer with herbs and oils, she still wanted to learn new ways of caring for others even when she seemed to fail her own family at times. Will this young Oregon wife and mother achieve her dream? What will she have to leave behind if she does -- or if she doesn't. Based on a true story.
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Romantic Times Book Reviews has selected All She Left Behind as one of their Top Picks with a 4 ½ star rating. “The storyline is rich in historical details that enhance the overall plot without overtaking it. Kirkpatrick does her research on each of her books, and it shows.”


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Story Sparks

Jane’s newsletter – Story Sparks -  is published periodically through the year, and is filled with news about current books, upcoming projects, events where you can interact with her and always includes a heartfelt message.  View past issues here.
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